Despite UFC building this match around Tito Ortiz and his induction into the Hall of Fame at UFC 148, it was Forrest Griffin who walked away with the unanimous decision victory Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 37-year-old Ortiz has been given more chances than a lot of fighters with his recent resume, but the decision was made to have this fight serve as his retirement bout, at least from UFC. We shall see just how long that lasts.
In a lot of ways, Griffin was the perfect opponent to send Ortiz into retirement. He is one of the most popular fighters on the roster, is a former light heavyweight champion and had two of the best matches of his career prior to tonight against Ortiz.
The first fight between Ortiz and Griffin that took place at UFC 59 in 2006 was the coming-out party for Griffin. He was a known commodity at that point thanks to the Stephan Bonnar match a year earlier, but no one knew what he would become.
After withstanding Ortiz's punishment for three rounds, Griffin became a star. He did not win the fight but had a job for life.
The two had a rematch at UFC 106 in 2009, with Griffin winning a split decision. After the bout, Griffin declared that he wanted a third fight with Ortiz. Due to time and circumstances, it never materialized until now.
Griffin was the best possible opponent for Ortiz to end his career with. It would have been better for Ortiz if he won, but sports doesn't always provide that perfect ending.